Connecting with my spiritual self- My experience of attending a Vipassana course

Many people go through different journeys in life, but rarely do we get a chance to go on one that truly connects us with ourselves. Mind and body working in sync towards harmony. I recently had a chance to go on a similar journey myself, because like most people I felt the urge to connect with my spiritual side in the hope that it would fill a void and make me whole. This post is my small attempt to explain in words what can be best described as feelings that at times were either Poisson functions or totally interdependent.

But first, Vipassana is a practice that is best described by Guruji S.N. Goenka as, “A simple, practical way to achieve real peace of mind and to lead a happy, useful life. Vipassana means “to see things as they really are”. It is a logical process of mental purification through self-observation.” What it essentially is a meditation practice that involves foregoing material/physical well being to attain mental purification or Dharma. As somebody who’d been meditating for almost four years before I first heard about a Vipassana course I was unfazed, but the true difficulty of something isn’t salient until you’ve actually tried it, right? -Here’s what a Vipassana course entails- Your stuck in a demarcated zone meditating for 14/15 hours in a day for days, with no outside contact, while not being allowed to talk to others, except your teacher/guruji, with no material comforts (mattresses, blankets, AC, phones, etc). It’s all designed to remove any semblance of a distraction to allow you to truly connect with yourself… in all parts. Even for someone who’s had practice with meditating, it’s not until you actually attend this course that you realize how truly distracted we are by almost everything around us. And that for us to find be at peace we need to forego these distractions.

There were days during this course when I’d be scratching my eyes out, trying to pull out what’s inside because I simply wanted the headaches to stop. There were days when I almost cried because my brain had somehow managed to imagine my worst nightmares and bring my feelings associated with them to life, both when I was awake and sleeping. But what I quickly realized was that while my fears were real, the aim wasn’t- my brain was playing tricks to get me out of there. Then and only then did I actually achieve some semblance of inner peace and realized what the course had been trying to teach me the whole time- the key to happiness isn’t to rebel against your surroundings… it’s to accept them. I lived with what can best be described as a colorful bunch of ants, roaches, rats, and lizards in my room with an animal kingdom housed outside, while being trapped in what at times felt like a mental prison. I rebelled a lot initially, but it was only when I accepted my situation for what it was, realizing that this wasn’t meant to be easy, that I was able to achieve happiness, the likes of which I hadn’t ever before. A state of blissfulness that felt out of reach, one that I hadn’t ever deemed possible. I’ve known people that take psychedelics who’ve talked about achieving a similar state, but to achieve that state through the mere effort of breathing and concentrating is mind blowing (*pun intended). It’s Dharma. Unfortunately, while the state of bliss only lasted for a couple more days after the course, what it changed inside me and taught me still remains and I couldn’t be more grateful. In the words of guruji S.N Goenka, “May you all start enjoying peace and harmony; peace and harmony of the liberated mind, liberated from all the defilements.”

P.S. If you’d like more information about the course, click here. And it probably goes without saying, but if you haven’t been meditating for a bit, don’t attend a course just yet.

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